ACL Injury

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is a ligament in the knee that joins the upper leg bone (Femur) to the lower leg bone (Tibia). Injuries range from mild, such as a small tear, to severe, such as when the ligament tears completely or when the ligament and part of the bone separate from the rest of the bone. An ACL injury is more likely to occur when playing sports. It is most common in athletes that play basketball, soccer, and football. Sports that require quick change of direction, stopping, twisting, and planting place the ligament under greater stresses. Typically, the injury happens when one foot is planted firmly on the ground and a sudden force hits the knee while the leg is straight or slightly bent. Studies show that female athletes are at a greater risk for tearing their ACL due the builds of their bodies. Women often have wider hips, creating a greater angle on their knee joint. They also tend to be more quad-dominant, which limits their ability to load their hips, decelerate, and/or come to a sudden stop after sprinting/jumping. When left untreated, ACL injuries can cause the knee to be unstable. Often, individuals with an ACL tear will have complaints of their knee “giving out” or “buckling” underneath them. Also, many report that when tearing their ACL, they feel (and sometimes hear) a “pop” in the knee, which is typically followed by pain and swelling. If you feel that yourself, a friend, or a family member may have compromised their ACL, or if you have more questions regarding treatment for an ACL tear, please don’t hesitate to talk with one of our Physical Therapists or Athletic Trainer at First Choice Physical Therapy.